Customers across north Alabama asked to cut back on electricity starting at 3pm because of extreme cold

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Tennessee Valley Authority is asking customers to cut back on energy usage starting at 3pm Tuesday and lasting until further notice because of the extremely cold temperatures.

A news release from Huntsville Utilities stresses that the voluntary curtailment will be most important during peak hours, which are between 5 and 9 a.m. as well as between 6 and 10 p.m.

Huntsville Utilities wants customers "to keep electric usage at an absolute minimum, eliminating any unnecessary electric operations such as lights, laundry, or any other electric appliance that aggravates the already high demand on the electric distribution system."

Joe Gehrdes with Huntsville Utilities said you will need to run your heat in this weather, but you can cut back in other areas.

"It's important for our customers to know that this is valley wide," Gehrdes said. "This is not just Madison County, but everywhere in the TVA footprint, which includes parts of seven states."

You can keep usage to a minimum by turning your lights off when you leave the room, reducing your cooking time, and saving your laundry and dishes for the weekend when it will be warmer weather.

"If everybody will cut back a little, then that will help TVA a great deal," Gehrdes said. "And we certainly don't want to see any outages when it's this cold out. Of course, if we do then our crews are ready to respond and will get that power back on as fast as we can."

He said snow days put a further strain on the system because everyone is at home.

"We're always eyes on the system and people ready to respond if there's a problem," Gehrdes said.

He said that if you do run into problems, do not to report them via social media. You have to call their main number so you can get a crew sent out to check on the problem.